Once rarities, oral histories—those sprawling, all-quote-based recollection orgies—have ballooned into a default setting for magazine and websites hoping to capitalize on a movie or event’s upcoming anniversary, and they’re often perfunctory. But when they’re done properly, oral histories can put a subject in new lights, revealing secret anecdotes and crazy behind-the-scenes memories that change the way you see whatever’s at the center of the discussion.
Rolling Stone has always been one of the best publications for these kinds of features; today, the magazine has once again shown its competitors how they’re done.
In celebration of the film’s 20th anniversary, Rolling Stone reporter Eric Hynes put together an exhaustive and wildly entertaining oral history for Kids, the classic and notoriously provocative indie feature about wayward New York City teens. Directed by then-50-year-old photographer-turned-filmmaker Larry Clark, and written by a then-unknown and then-17-year-old Harmony Korine, Kids starred a crop of first-time actors and took a raw, in-your-face look at teenagers having unprotected sex, being vulgar, stomping peers’ heads into concrete and aloofly running straight into the era’s burgeoning AIDS epidemic. It’s the film that introduced Rosario Dawson and Chloe Sevigny to Hollywood’s gatekeepers, and without it, there’d be no Spring Breakers (Korine’s latest feature as a director).
Hynes spoke in-depth with all of the film’s major players, including Dawson, Korine, Sevigny and distributor Harvey Weinstein, and the lengthy oral history is packed with hilarious, uncomfortable and altogether fascinating nuggets. Read it here to learn about Martin Scorsese’s brief sting as one of Kids’ would-be producers, the random way that Korine recruited Dawson, why Weinstein had to start an all-new company just to release the film and tons more firsthand tales.
You won’t find a better piece of weekend reading on the net, folks.